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Why does hurt exist?

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

19 min
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Questioner (Dev Ji from US): He is saying that a sense of hurt seems to arise when the sense of who we are? This notion we have about what I am is challenged and the smallness of the person I come to the fore. Put another way when one ego manages to convince another ego that it is somehow smaller inferior lacks some essence not worthy enough etc. then there is hurt. Since the ego drives it sense of self from outside and if the apparent cause of hurt is from outside, then in theory one would be able to see through it and avoid personal involvement. What’s cognize by the mind and accepted by mind in a tranquil situation goes out of the window when confronted by situation that give rise to the sense of hurt and natural tendencies seems to overtake the operation. Why is this and what can be done about it?

Acharya Prashant: We are hurt by hurt. What is it that hurt hurts? Hurt hurts the concept that there should be no hurt. In the concept that there should be no hurt. There is both ignorance and arrogance. The way we are! The way man is born, hurt is a natural accompaniment of our existence.

What is hurt? Where there are two and one does not have acceptance of the other as a legitimate one then their mutual contact is called hurt. So hurt requires these conditions. Firstly, there should be two. Secondly, one of them or both of them must have a concept that the other has no right to exist or other is illegitimate. Now, whenever these two would come in contact there would be hurt. So I asked, what is it that hurt hurts, Hurt hurts only our notion that there should no hurt.

The day one is born, one is born in hurt, the entire life is game of duality and there is bound to be disorder and friction and chaos, and all of these if seen as unjustified would cause hurt. I said there is both ignorance and arrogance in seeing disorder and conflict and collision and chaos as unjustified. Why is there ignorance in this? There is ignorance in this because we do not see that wherever there is duality, there is bound to be conflict and why is there arrogance in this? There is arrogance in this because the one existing in duality is assuming himself to be beyond duality.

The one who is condemned to be hurt is treating himself as someone who should not be hurt. The one who is just a bit a piece a little fragment is treating himself so complete and so total that there would be nobody besides him or beyond him. So, there is arrogance involved, a lot of arrogance. You are saying why is one hurt. One should rather ask why should this question arise at all.

Wherever there is one. There is bound to be the other and where there is the other, there is bound to be hurt. But we are peeved by hurt, we resent hurt. When hurt act as if something extraordinary has happened to us. When hurt we respond which descent. We feel as if we have been done in. We feel as if we have been cheated. We feel as if something that does’t deserve to happen has happened.

If we deserve to live life the way we live it then we also deserve to be hurt.

There is no point in resisting hurt or in other words getting hurt by hurt. When you enter a boxing ring do you complain that the others punches are hurting you? Do you complain? Would you go to court or log an FIR? You have entered the boxing ring now why are you getting hurt.

Man is born in this boxing ring. Where there is you the other the adversary and the relationship is of punches. That’s how we live. If you are getting hurt then that’s the rule of the game. In fact, if you get hurt, you lose points. You are trying to act like a pious and moral victim. The referee is saying you idiot why are you getting hurt. The more you get hurt, the more you are looser in this game. The other is scoring over you.

But you want to establish that you are in the right. You want to establish that you are peaceful and other is an aggressor. You want to establish that you are unduly being victimized. Nothing is undue here. If all the punches are landing on your face it is only because you are failing in your attempts to land punches on others face.

It is not hurt per se that worries you. It is your personal hurt that worries you.

It is not the act of punching that you find bad. It is the punches that land on your nose that you find bad. See that this is the inevitable consequence of the ways of our life and just don’t complain.

You live, you work, where do you work? Is that place, place of harmony. Is not hurt inbuilt in the structure of the institution that you live by. Wherever there is duality, wherever there is you and me, wherever there is a persuit of profit, wherever there is the talk of individual rights there is the age-old game of duality being played, right?

Now look at your life, look at your institution the family, the temple, the office, the workplace, the market, the country, the city, the whole system of education. Look at all of them. Are they not dualistic? Do they not only promote a sense of me and you. But are actually based on the foundation of one and the other or one vs other.

Living in this dualistic world, where you are taught to be better, where you taught to compete, where you are taught to succeed. What right does one have to complain of hurt? It is said those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. When you live by the sword then you don’t complain because the same sword enabling your life. But when cut by the sword you look wound and your blood and you say hurt is so bad. Don’t you see that the same mode of living that enables you to get your daily bread is the mode that also makes you get hurt?

Where does our bread come from, it comes from conflict and competition. It comes from one’s performance benchmarked against another’s performance.

Do you complain when you receive your salary cheque? If you do not complain when you get your salary cheque How can you complain when you can get hurt because both of them are coming from the same source. If you compete well you get a higher salary. And if you are competing then at the same point or other you will also get hurt.

Hurt is the natural accompaniment of this world order that we are living in.

called it world-order or disorder.

The mobile phone in your hand, it is a product of human effort, it is a product of pursuit of target, it is a product of market forces. The price that you pay for it is result of cut throat competition. The apps that you downloaded on it are there because of human choice and preference the ego likes and dislikes.

Do you ever complain against mobile phone? You don’t! because hurt and duality are so subtly ingrained in that phone that you are unable to see that the mobile phone stands for hurt. So you don’t complain then. Have ever complain against your very house? Tell me what are these walls. These walls are separations. They are divisions. They are barriers that divide man from man. Are they not? Outside the wall of your house you say is the outsider and inside that wall you say is the family member. Have you ever complained against your house? If you have not complained against your house. Why do you complain when somebody hurts you. Because the moment you create an outsider, hurt is bound to be there.

Wait the moment you create an insider, again hurt is bound to be there. In fact the insider is going to hurt you more viciously than the outsider. But with great fondness and devotion, you raise these walls. With great affection you call the walls as your house and then when you get hurt, you look around you wonder. As if something unexpected has happened what is unexpected in hurt.

When you go to a market place where competition prevails, when you go to workplace where you do not know what you are doing, where you do not know who you are really working for yet you are blindly chasing a target, and when you live in house where there is great fondness for insider and apathy for outsider, what wonder is there in the fact that one keeps getting hurt?

The house is hurt. The market place is hurt. The workplace is hurt. The educational institution is hurt, The religious institution is hurt because all of them are based on divisions. Because all of them are based on walls and duality.

You might say you are not strong enough to bring down the walls then at least be honest enough to not to complain when you bang your head against the wall. You are the one who has raise these walls and you are also the one who is benefitting from these walls as per your definition of benefit. I do’t call that as a benefit but you see great benefit in walls. Don’t you?

If you are benefitting so much from this world of disorder and duality and divisions then you must also pay the price, the price is hurt. And if you don’t want to pay this price then kindly must have the courage to stop living in a world where hurt is necessity.

If you win other get hurt and if you loose then you get hurt that is the law of land. That is the rule the game. Shoot him before he shoots you down. Punch him before he lands his punch. So, first of all, stop complaining. First of all, stop acting as if you are hapless victim. One is just ripping the fruits of the entire garden one has raised.

Basic honesty demands that one get hurts. One says alright this was bound to happen. Alright! this was bound to happen. The boxer does not throw away his gloves, does not start stamping his feet on the ground, does not start veiling, does not complain to his mother. Mumma, "he is just punched me…referee uncle see here (AP indicating his hand on his face) he is just punch me." You signed up for it. All of it is happening with your consent. What right does one have to complain?

Look at one’s relationship based on give and take , based on dependency, based on subtle violence and exploitation. Till the time you keep subtly exploiting other, till the time the game is favorable to you, you don’t complain. But when other decides that he has had enough or when other decide he to want to have fun exploiting you then you complain. When the relationship takes shape do you ever come and require? Do you pause and reflect? Do you try to see what is the basis of that relationship? When the relationship is building up, when the relationship is prospering then there is no need to reflect. These are early days and all seems hunky-dory. But when there is a breakup then you veil so hard you bring the sky down. Great god such severe injustice. She left me. The way the relationship was, was it not certain that it would end this way?

Boya ped babul ka aam kahan se khaye

Translation - Planted the acacia tree then from where we get mango.

Now two mistakes, firstly, you don’t sow the right seeds. And the second mistake is you keep expecting that you will still get plum fruits. You may even go on and take your second mistake to great heights. You may keep pretending that the thorns of your tree are actually luscious fruits. So you are taking the thorn and trying to squeeze the juice out of it. And When you get hurt you say, "See, even juice hurts these days."

At least be honest enough to accept that these are thorns. Begin from this point when you get hurt, accept it with fold hands. Don’t resist it.

Nobody is plotting against you. Nobody is conspiring behind you. You are only getting that which you are agreed to get.

As they say, "the chicken have come home to roast." You create this mess daily. You add to the disorder daily. Now honestly accept when the disorder comes to take its toll upon you. If you can be forthright in not resisting hurt then you have already advanced beyond your limited confines.

There was Gangster movie I saw, an old one in which the don, O he is Don , a killer, he has been killing all his life eliminating his opponent has been his hobby. But at last one of his adversaries, a few of them rather they catch with him and now they all are standing in front of him, ready to shoot him kill him, it is his last moment. He looks at them and he says, Ah! the expression on this fellow face at this moment is not at all one of the complaints. He is not craving against life and it is his last moment. He is going. He says, "In the next room is my piano. I will play the piano and shoot me when I am playing the piano." And he goes and very joyfully he takes off his coat, his tie, unbutton his shirt and with great abandon, he plays the piano as he keeps playing the piano. His adversaries keep shooting him. He keeps on receiving the bullets and keeps playing piano and then collapses on the piano itself. That is the basic minimum honesty you can display. I live the life of a gangster obviously this is the death scripted for me. I will have to die as a gangster because I have lived as a gangster. What right do I have to complain?

So at least now death has arrived in my last moment, let me not cheat, let me not lie. I will not beg for mercy. I will not beg for a little more time. That is the beginning.

Next time you feel hurt, realize that you have earned it and deserve it.

The more you resist hurt. The more you prove to yourself that you are in the right.

You tell yourself, I am a such a nice fellow faultless committed dedicated to the Truth, and yet bad things are happening to me. This is an obfuscation of reality. Contrasted to this, when you accept hurt then for the first time you are saying the way I live, protecting falseness promoting falseness, looking for security, afraid of insecurity, this is the natural result. For the first time, you accept that you are away from your heart that you are away from your true center that you are totally entangled, embroiled in unnecessary stuff.

Acceptance of hurt means an acceptance of one's falseness. And if you can accept your falseness that is the beginning of surrender to Truth.

If life seems bad don’t blame anybody else. All suffering is self-made. Whenever you suffer look at yourself and ask what have I done and Who am I to deserve this suffering.

Suffering in that sense is a message from Truth, a message that can take you to relief. If you suffer, tell yourself there is surely wrong within, and hence suffering is an opportunity to eliminate that which is false, rotten, and unnecessary within.

Use hurt, use all your suffering. Suffering is greatly needless in a sense but also something that is deeply required. It is needless because you have unnecessarily brought it upon you.

There can be life without suffering, you have unnecessarily added suffering to your life. So, it is needless but it is also greatly needed because once you have moved to the wrong center, to wrong mode of operation to the false set of identities then you need suffering.

You need suffering so that it can act as a shock, as a reminder, as a wake-up call. Next time, when you are hurt or when you suffer be greatfull. Somebody is reminding you that you need not suffer.

Through suffering, you are being reminded that you need not suffer. Listen to suffering. Don’t turn your back upon it, don’t start labeling it as illegitimate.

All suffering is legitimate. All suffering is just the due result of who we are. So it is justified . Listen to your suffering and in that listening, you will find a beyondness. There is life beyond suffering.

Q(Pradeep Ji asked): Rumi says, "the hurt you embrace become joy." As you mention it’s the ego that gets hurt and truth never gets hurt. Our current situation is that we are the ego so then who will embrace the hurt. Is it not the same ego who is hurt?

AP: Is the question clear?

I have said many a times that it is only the ego that gets hurt. Pradeep Ji is further putting Rumi that the hurt you embrace becomes joy. He is saying it’s only the ego that gets hurt. And the current situation is that we are the ego. So then who will embrace the hurt? Is it not the same ego that is hurt.

Who is saying all this? Who realizes? Who is saying embrace your ego? Who is saying the ego an embraced become joy? Who is saying it is only the ego that gets hurt? Who is saying Truth never gets hurt? Who is saying all this thing? The Ego. From where does beauty come? From where do the scriptures come? Who realizes? Who really sees? Who listens? the Ego. But you are very steadfastly claiming that our current situation is that we are the ego. If you are the ego who realize that you are the ego ? Is realization is the function of ego, Pradeep ji?

So don’t be so sure that you are the ego. Don’t be so sure? Had you really be in the ego? You would not have come forth with this statement and you would not have come forth to ask me this doubt. Had you really be in the ego? The first thing you would have done was to avoid me. The ego avoids the Truth like death. Had you really be in the ego what business would you have had attending so many camps and sessions?

That in you which asks these questions, that in you which is listening to all my answers, that in you which understands Is also the one who can stand apart from the hurt? He will see that the ego is getting hurt and he will not support the ego. He will not resist the ego either. He would just see that all of this is happening. His sight is so benevolent so curative that it heals the ego. Just by looking at the ego, he cures the ego. The ego is getting hurt and he is looking at the ego and the hurt diminishes and ego starts smiling.

When the real you looks at the pretentious you, even the pretentious you does not want to pretend anymore. When the real you looks at the false you, the false you does not want to stay in falseness anymore. It is a very seductive glance. It is a very compelling sight. When the true look at the false, the false quivers resists but ultimately drops all it ammunition and has to surrender.


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